By Abubakar Sadiq Isah
Tension is brewing among Fulani residents of Kuje Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) over the arrest of their chief, Malam Umar Isyak, by the police in connection with stolen cows in the area.
Our reporter learnt that the Fulani chief was arrested last Wednesday afternoon after he went to inform the Kuje Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Mr. N.E Oroto, that the cows stolen by rustlers have been recovered and handed over to the owners.
A Fulani elder, who confirmed the arrest of their chief on Friday, explained that the police insisted that the cows which were recovered from the rustlers at Gwako village were not returned to the owners contrary to the claims by the Fulani leader.
“The Ardo Fulani insisted that the police were not convinced that the cows have been handed over to the owner, he now decided to enter the police vehicle in order to take them to the owner of the cows. It was on their way to the place, that they drove him to Zuba Police Station and detained him for three days,” he said.
He said when the owners of the cows got wind of the arrest of their chief, they reported to the police authorities at the command, yet the police at Zuba Division refused to release him.
He alleged that the Ardo of Fulani was implicated by a man, who claimed to be a vigilante secretary, who together with his boss, always goes to herders’ camps to intimidate, harass and extort money from them.
The Fulani man accused the police of giving the people cover to arrest his kinsmen and extort money from them.
“No Fulani man is happy with the arrest of our Ardo by the police. The secret behind the arrest was that the police are not happy that the cows recovered were handed over to the owner by the Ardo, “he alleged.
According to him, the vigilante ‘leader’ has become a threat to the Fulani in the FCT, especially in Kuje Area Council, saying the police authorities should investigate him.
“If truly the police want to do their work, they should invite this man and investigate him because the way and manner he goes about harassing and extorting money from the Fulani, especially those that have cows is quite worrisome. And this is a man who claimed to be a vigilante leader but who sometimes moves about with different kinds of exotic cars; where did he get money to buy those cars?’’ he asked.
When contacted, the FCT Police Commissioner, Mr. Wilson Inalegwu, said the police have arrested some suspected cattle rustlers but doubted if the Fulani chief was among those arrested.
“All I know is that some suspects were arrested in connection to cattle rustling, but I don’t think if the Ardo Fulani was among them. I will find out from my men,” he said.